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Kenya: Violence Against Women Rising

(Dec. 15, 2010) It was reported on December 10, 2010, that violence against women is rising in the western part of Kenya. Between January of 2009 and June of 2010, the Children's Department in the area reported 300 cases of sexual abuse (Catholic Information Service for Africa, Kenya: Violence Against Women on Increase in Kuria Region (Dec. 10, 2010), Local police files show that about 600 cases of offenses against women, including rape, abusive language and gestures, touching and groping, and character assassination through graphics, were reported (id.). Both figures represent only reported cases.

The enactment of a stringent law on sexual offenses appears to have had little or no effect in this part of Kenya. Kenya adopted a Sexual Offences Act with stringent provisions in 2006. This Act imposes punishment of up to life in prison for rape and a minimum of five years in prison for attempted rape (Sexual Offences Act No. 3 of 2006, §§ 3 & 4, KENYA LAW REPORTS portal, (last visited Dec. 14, 2010)). The offense of commission of an indecent act, which includes exposure or display of pornographic material to any person against her will, is punishable by up to five years in prison (id. § 11A). If the victim of the indecent act is a child, the minimum penalty imposed is 10 years in prison (id.). Sexual harassment is punishable by a minimum of three years in prison and/or a fine (id. § 23).